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Poison alert for dog owners

Dog owners exercising their pets on Boston borough's marshes and close to tidal waters have been urged to keep them under close control following incidents in recent weeks where some have died after eating dead fish, starfish and crabs washed up on The Wash shore in Norfolk.

Two dogs - one in Norfolk and one in Suffolk - died after eating dead marine animals with high levels of PSP toxins.

PSP - or Paralytic Shellfish Poison - is a naturally-occurring marine biotoxin. 

It is thought the contaminated marine animals were washed up during winter storms and are likely to have now been washed back into the sea.

The beaches and resorts along the coast remain fully open for business, but dog owners are advised to take simple precautions such as keeping pets under close control or on a lead and preventing them from eating washed-up marine life.

There is no risk to people or pets in the water and nothing to suggest that anything sold for human consumption has been affected. Tests last week on edible species including crabs, dab and whelks found either no toxins, or toxins at levels well beneath the regulatory limit.

The Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) is working with colleagues in other organisations, including the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, to undertake further sampling to monitor the situation. This will ensure that any ongoing PSP contamination is identified and can be acted on as required.

IFCA is also asking that any incidents of dogs or pets becoming unwell are reported to the local district or borough council in which the incident occurred. This will help co-ordinate further work.